— In the Beginning was the first blue light of the TV screen, reflecting the plains and mountains of the “vast wasteland.” In those primitive days of TV viewing, when I tired of the eye candy I was snacking, I  left my comfortable perch in order to turn the tuner to another sweet shoppe. Nowadays, when all the old and disabled folks who reside in my ALF (Assisted Living Facililty) want to channel-surf, we ask a caregiver to make the necessary changes …

— I’m old enough to remember the vast wasteland before it was memorialized as the “vast wasteland.”  (For those of you too young to remember, the “vast wasteland”  was the sobriquet pronounced upon the fledgling soporific medium called TV by Newton Minnow, the man President John Kennedy appointed Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission -FCC.) I thought of the “vast wasteland” as our community of elders was gathered in front of the TV screen experiencing the “global village” – another, more …

—               Views from inside an Assisted Living Facility   It’s raining. Ech!  I shouldn’t grouse; it was bound to happen. It is October, and it is Oregon: it always rains in Oregon in the late Fall and Winter. I’ve lived here for fifty years;  I should be used to that. I am. I used to glory in it. I loved to ride my bike into a wind that pushed me back, that sprayed water …

— I’m awakened by a continuous rumbling. As I sleepily struggle to forge a remembrance, foggy thoughts ruminate in my somnolent mind, and slowly cohere in recognition: it’s a huge motor idling.  Clarity penetrates my torpid mind:  I ask myself, why do I hear that sound outside my window?  I slowly lift my head and glance at the ceiling – pools of color pulse rhythmically as  the motor rumbles on. Red flashes strobe the walls.  My mind clears: the deep, throaty …

— LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT Hallelujah! Hooray!   Hot-Ziggety-Zag!  Hot-Diggety Dog! Hot Scud Catfish! et al….! What brings on this plethora of expletives of joy? Well, not much materially – but HUGE in its implications. Recall the concept of “person-centered?” Well, a progressive step has been taken by the “provider” of my Long Term Care home. My ALF. Toward that end. “One small step for man. . . “ No.  Not that one. In fact, it was a  non-pedal activity; …

— What do we do with dear old dad? Or sweet old mom? Or both? So muse the adult children of parents who are septuagenarians , or octogenarians, or nonagenarians, or centenarians, or, .. . God forbid  –  supercentenarians? What do we do with them? Where do we put them? To the rescue – Long Term Care, or LTC. Sanctioned by the Federal Government. Sanctioned by each State. A profit center for the large hostelier. A non-profit for charitable entities. A …

—     I wish these written letters could morph into the sounds they signify,  then you’d get the genuine sound of . . . what to call it? It’s not really abuse – but it’s not really respect, either, and it shoots to hell the declaration of “dignity,” which many – all, really – LTC facilities claim as their “holy grail.” After all, we are “elders,” with all the sacrosanct connotations the word embraces. Me? I’m eighty-four. A decrepit vessel …

— Dick Weinman is an AARP volunteer and an assisted living guru Like the Norse legends of old, the saga of Zip-Locks and Other Stuff never ends. Here is the next chapter. As I first encountered the frustrating obstacle to gastronomic pleasure at rehearsals (you recall the zip-lock bag and the cherry tomatoes. If not, click on the link in the first sentence above), so I faced the second challenge to my disability, while tasting the freedom of life outside of …

— Dick Weinman is an AARP volunteer and an assisted living guru When I left rehearsals one summer’s night, I had an opportunity to enjoy one of the best and simplest joys of the season. (Yes! Despite my battered body, nonfunctioning  hands, and wheelchair mobility, I fulfill my long time desire to act. . . as long as it’s the Readers Theatre – where the short-term memory loss of an eighty-three year old and the inability to move around in a set, doesn’t …

— Awakening Redux II, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity As a resident of an ALF, with my cognition still intact, “senior moments” at a minimum, not yet in the haze of dementia, I’m aware of “the geriatric communication mode” which seems to be, smile and speak in an ascending high pitch. I know all about smiley voices. It’s not just the caregivers or people talking to old folks. I once was a smiley voice. As a Voice Over …